How I Became a Goal-Getter

August 9, 2019

private photo editor headshot christi johnson goal getter

In my last post I shared my journey to productivity and effectiveness. I mentioned a couple influential resources that helped me get where I am now. They were my Cultivate What Matters goal planner and the book What’s Best Next by Matt Perman. Those books helped me immensely in 2018. 2018 was a defining year for me because I wasn’t coaching, I stopped teaching piano, and my photography business was at a standstill. I was confused and I didn’t know who I was or how to get to where I wanted to be. That year I took some concrete steps to go after my goals and start living on purpose. Today I’m sharing them with you! Honestly, I could write a full-length blog post about each topic here, but I’m just going to share the highlights.


Journaling really helped me immensely my first year of marriage. I asked myself questions like:

  • Do my jobs really define me?
  • Does my marital status really define me?
  • Does my personality type define me?
  • What truly does define me?
  • Why do I do what I do?
  • Do I love my jobs, or do I just love being good at my jobs?
  • What is my over-arching purpose?
  • What am I passionate about?

I found my heart cluttered with stuff I didn’t even realize was there. And I had to strip away layers of false ideas and idols of my heart.


I’ve never really felt like I had a “calling.” You know, like something you feel like you just have to do. I came to realize that callings manifest themselves in various ways at various times. And often simply fulfilling the roles God’s given you is the same thing as pursuing your calling. Right now, one of my callings is to be a wife. I have other roles in addition to that calling: daughter, sister, friend, church member, business owner, editor, homemaker, financial planner. Solidifying my roles and callings helped me ensure I didn’t let any slip by the wayside. I also connected my roles to the macro level of my purpose and the micro level of my day-to-day schedule.


This is a big one. Before 2018, my yearly goals looked something like this:

  • Read the whole Bible in one year
  • Lose 10 pounds in 6 months
  • Go to the gym 3 times a week
  • Read x amount of books
  • Book x amount of weddings
  • Make x amount of money
  • Visit 5 different parks
  • Learn 5 new piano pieces

Do you see how that is really just setting me up for failure? What if I learned 4 piano pieces instead of 5? What if it takes me a whole year to lose 10 pounds? Do I consider that failure? And honestly, WHO CARES if I book so many weddings or make so much money. Will that really matter when I’m 80? Will I really look back on my life and say, “Man. I wish I’d spent more time working. And boy, I sure do wish I read 10 books in 2018 instead of just 8.” NO! When I’m 80 I’ll want to remember the adventures I went on with Matt, the time I spent with my kids and grandkids, and I’ll want to have honored Christ with my words, actions, time, and relationships. After working through the Cultivate What Matters Powersheets, now my goals look more like this:

  • Put Christ at the center of my life
  • Make memories with Matt
  • Give my business to God and watch him work
  • Share music with others
  • Save more money and give more away
  • Build relationships in my new community
  • Choose meaningful hobbies over pointless time wasters
  • Make healthy choices

Now my goals inspire me rather than stress me out. I don’t focus on numbers, I focus on what matters. And it’s much easier to tell if I’ve achieved my goals if I don’t put time limits or arbitrary rules.


This will be the topic of my next post! My work schedule has boundaries, because my main calling is my marriage. I put reminders in my schedule so I remember to write birthday cards for my family members. And I include time to work on my goals.


Soon I will write an in-depth blog post about my system. This is just an introduction. I use Google Keep and Trello to keep my life in order. Each one of my projects has a written project plan with a purpose and action steps. And I have a series of lists to ensure my ideas don’t fall to the wayside. I focus on planning out my week rather than a daily to-do list. That keeps me from getting stressed out or overwhelmed or from feeling like a failure if I don’t accomplish everything on my to-do list. I also get my email inbox down to 0 every day. I’m not stressed out every time I open my inbox and see that email I need to respond to but don’t want to. I have a system for moving those types of things out of my inbox and onto a list to make sure I get it done at the right time but it’s not annoying me in the meantime.


And last, but DEFINITELY not least, I utilize apps like Screen Time or Digital Wellbeing to set limits on social media, entertainment, and even texting. I found that one of the main barriers to my productivity was social media and YouTube. I try to keep my phone in another room at night and I have my phone on Do Not Disturb until a certain time. Something that has REALLY helped is I also turned off email and social media notifications on my phone and only check those at certain times. I will be the first to admit that I’m FAR from perfect in this area. Fighting the urge to scroll aimlessly is a daily battle for me. But having systems in place to combat it really does help, and I’m striving to be better every day. A book I HIGHLY recommend on the topic of smart digital living is Tony Reinke’s book 12 Ways Your Phone is Changing You.

I can’t wait to dive in further and tell you more about my weekly schedule and my systems for getting stuff done! But for now, I hope this was helpful. If you’re stuck in a rut like I was, please do not give up! Know that you are not alone. It took me a long time to finally be happy with my business. Remember, as Lara Casy says, “it’s okay to grow slow”. And “you don’t have to be blooming to be growing”. We all have seasons of learning and seasons of flourishing. And remember to not compare yourself to someone else! We all have different goals, different struggles, different everything! If you ever want to talk about your goals or reach out for a conversation don’t hesitate to get in touch! I’m cheering for you!


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